Nov. 15, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fifth-ranked Florida State (18-4-1) defeated California (11-9-1) 3-0 Sunday afternoon in front of a great crowd of over 900 at the Seminole Soccer Complex to advance into the Third Round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
FSU registered a pair of first half goals from sophomore forwards Jessica Price and Tiffany McCarty to give the Seminoles their 17th consecutive victory at home, while moving to 17-0-0 all-time in postseason games played inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Amanda DaCosta tied a career-high with two assists on Sunday, while Price scored for the third time in two NCAA Tournament games this year. For the second straight game, Price recorded the game-winner and now leads FSU with seven game-winning goals in 2009.
With the win, FSU improved to 3-0-0 all-time against California with all three victories coming in the NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee. The Garnet and Gold also improved to 8-1-0 all-time in second round action and have now advanced into the third round for the fifth year in a row.
The Seminoles withstood early pressure from California through the first 15 minutes of the game thanks in large part to the outstanding work by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Erin McNulty.
A miscue by the Seminole defense in the second minute of action almost cost the Garnet and Gold as California's Alex Morgan sent a cross from the left wing inside the box that Lisa Kevorkian one-timed wide of the right post.
In the ninth minute, McNulty made an outstanding diving save to her right off a blast from about 16 yards off the foot of Morgan. Morgan tried to sneak a low liner inside the far post, but McNulty extended her arms for the save and then recovered in time to pounce on the loose ball.
Less than six minutes later, McNulty came through with another big save on a shot from Emily Shibata from point blank range. Kevorkian sent a cross into the box where Shibata timed her run perfectly and one-timed a shot right into the arms of the Seminole goalkeeper.
From that point forward, the Seminoles took control of the offensive tempo scoring two goals in the final 11:57 of the first half.
Price broke the scoreless tie finding the back of the net in the 34th minute to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead. DaCosta assisted on the play as she sent a beautiful pass inside the box to Price. The Seminole forward took one touch before sending a sliding shot on frame that deflected off Cal keeper Gina Pellegrini and trickled inside the left post for the score. The goal was Price's third of the tournament and 15th of the season.
Less then five minute before the half, the Seminole would strike again increasing their lead to 2-0 on McCarty's team leading 17th goal of the season. DaCosta picked up her second assist of the afternoon sending a pass down field to McCarty, who got behind the Golden Bear defense. With a defender running in to her left, the sophomore forward made a terrific inside, out move to cross up the defender leaving enough space to bend her shot inside the near post from 12 yards to give FSU a two-goal lead.
Florida State did a good job of maintaining possession for a majority of the second half limiting Cal to just three shots although all three shots were on goal. But as she did all afternoon, McNulty continued to make save after save to keep Cal off the scoreboard.
In the 83rd minute, Morgan once again sent a dangerous shot on goal that forced McNulty into a diving save. With the ball loose inside the 6-yard box, Seminole defender Tiana Brockway ran on and kicked the ball out of harm's way.
Cal's Samantha Walker tried to go top shelf from about 22 yards out with 27 seconds remaining in the game, but McNulty came through with yet another outstanding save tipping the ball over the crossbar to preserve the shutout.
McNulty finished the game tying a season-high with five saves while registering her fifth shutout of the season. In the process, she also became FSU's all-time leader for postseason shutouts recording her third.
FSU increased its lead off a set piece in the 74th minute as Toni Pressley headed home a pass that was redirected from Becky Edwards off a corner to give the Seminoles a commanding 3-0 advantage. Lauren Switzer was credited with an assist on the play, her ninth of the season and third of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State will return to action on Friday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m., when the Seminoles take on Texas A&M in third round action of the NCAA Tournament. Location of the game has yet to be determined and will be announced by the NCAA later this evening. Fans are encouraged to check back with Seminoles.com to find out the location for Friday night's match.